Propane tank freezing - Power Equipment Forum : Power Equipment Forums
User Tag List

 1Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Propane tank freezing

Howdy yall.

This forum helped me so much I thought I would pass this by the peeps.

We had a power outage yesterday and used my generator using propane for fuel. First time I used it this long on propane.

I have a couple 40# bottles and a 20# bottle. After using about 3/4 of the 40# bottle the generator died of fuel starvation and the bottle was frozen. For grins I hooked up the #20 bottle and the generator quit after using about half the bottle and it to was frozen.

I have looked for manifolds to hook bottles up together to lessen the flow rate from a bottle to hopefully keep this from happening but really haven't found something I need. The manufacturer installed a regulator on the generator so any products that use a regulator to hook up bottles will not work.

Does anyone anything to share to resolve this issue?

Thanks everyone! And Merry Christmas!
Rankamateur is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2019, 11:27 PM
Senior Member
 
tabora's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Posts: 340
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rankamateur View Post
Does anyone anything to share to resolve this issue?
In cold weather, small propane cylinders require warming in order to function until empty. In my case, I place the cylinder in the exhaust air flow from my generator shed. I originally ran the propane regulator out through a hole on the intake side; that has since been changed for cold weather use.

The real solution is to use a very large cylinder, like a 420 lb tank: about 4 feet tall by 3 feet diameter.


Last edited by tabora; 12-18-2019 at 01:10 AM.
tabora is online now  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 02:19 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 13
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)



But as stated, bigger tank
sportplumber is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 03:30 AM
Senior Member
 
tabora's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Posts: 340
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
I guess one of these Powerblanket PBL20 Cylinder Heaters would work, too:


tabora is online now  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 06:52 AM
KRE
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NE. Alabama
Posts: 320
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rankamateur View Post
Howdy yall.

This forum helped me so much I thought I would pass this by the peeps.

We had a power outage yesterday and used my generator using propane for fuel. First time I used it this long on propane.

I have a couple 40# bottles and a 20# bottle. After using about 3/4 of the 40# bottle the generator died of fuel starvation and the bottle was frozen. For grins I hooked up the #20 bottle and the generator quit after using about half the bottle and it to was frozen.

I have looked for manifolds to hook bottles up together to lessen the flow rate from a bottle to hopefully keep this from happening but really haven't found something I need. The manufacturer installed a regulator on the generator so any products that use a regulator to hook up bottles will not work.

Does anyone anything to share to resolve this issue?

Thanks everyone! And Merry Christmas!
Your tanks are not big enough to vaporize the fuel, that is way they are freezing up. Regardless of what you are told or see in any ad,... NEVER EVER HEAT A TANK!!! That sir is asking for trouble. If Murphy comes calling he will either kill you, a loved one, or possibly destroy everything you own. Get a tank/s of the proper size or switch your fuel system to liquid.

Once you know how a device, system, ect operates, finding the root cause in the event chain is easy. Until then, you will always be chasing/repairing the effects. Learning is a life time event, if you want to outsmart, whatever item you want to repair.
KRE is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 10:29 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
I assume that you are using 20 and 40+ bottles so that they are portable, can be filled at a propane fuel station and transported back home.

In theory the liquid supply concept suggestion makes sense, but portable bottles often don't allow for that concept anymore. Perhaps yours do but mine have an internal valve that prevents this from happening.

A lot of LP / Propane sold in retail contains substantial amounts of butane and other similar fuels. Butane evaporates at right around 30 - 35 F, so what can happen is the propane portion evaporates and leaves the liquid butane in the tank. Essentially in winter conditions, it doesn't evaporate very well. There is some vapor pressure - but not tons.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butane

It is one of the ways that companies that sell "pre-filled" bottles make extra money - only 1/2 is usable, but they charge for the whole "tank".

The other problem is what happens to every propane use - the bottle cools substantially during use. I get this just running a grill.

Since you (probably) cannot access the liquid in the tank, and direct heating with an electric blanket has been frowned upon, I would be tempted to put the tanks into a tank of warm water during use. (40-50 F). Even cold well water is usually this warm, so in theory you could just run cold water in / drain it off to help keep it "warmer".
HarryN is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 11:20 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: West Boston suburb
Posts: 29
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
But can you rent a residential propane? Because maybe by the time you expend the time & money cobbling a piecemeal solution would will equal or exceed the price for a proper tank?
Melson is online now  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 11:21 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: West Boston suburb
Posts: 29
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
propane = propane tank
Melson is online now  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Thanks for all the responses!

My use is for a few times a year possibly one week per use for a 12,500w dual fuel (propane and gas) back up generator.

Unfortunately there is no way to install a large tank and due to the infrequent use, cost considerations.

I chose the dual fuel as to have fuel readily available.

I sure can understand the thought of combining propane and a heating source can be very volatile. A heating blanket seems very tame and can not find one case off hand where that became a problem for anyone. This option seems to be the most reasonable. Are they really that dangerous? Certainly don't want to do something that could cause harm and/or damage.
Rankamateur is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-18-2019, 05:52 PM
Senior Member
 
tabora's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Posts: 340
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rankamateur View Post
A heating blanket seems very tame and can not find one case off hand where that became a problem for anyone. This option seems to be the most reasonable. Are they really that dangerous? Certainly don't want to do something that could cause harm and/or damage.
I can't imagine the Powerblanket PBL20 Cylinder Heaters being dangerous, or the company wouldn't be able to afford the liability insurance on them... It only heats to 90F / 32C ( 10F/5C), which is just a bit higher than my shed exhaust temperature of about 70F when it's 32F outside (I have thermal sensors with alarms inside & outside of the shed). The Powerblanket is certified to UL/CSA/CE standards. I would just plug it into the generator itself, as I do with my exhaust fan, so it runs when the generator does. Here's the link to the manual: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....1I2r6wVGSS.pdf

As far as a large tank goes, my heating oil company was more than happy to loan me a 420lb propane tank for my barn heaters and only charged me for the propane itself. It was filled in 2007 and I still have not emptied it yet since I only run it in the winter when I'm working out there. Likewise, I have 2 "free" 100lb cylinders at our island camp that each get swapped out about every 1.5 years.
Rankamateur likes this.

Last edited by tabora; 12-18-2019 at 06:13 PM.
tabora is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Power Equipment Forum : Power Equipment Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome